cover image Jack Black and the Ship of Thieves

Jack Black and the Ship of Thieves

Carol Hughes. Random House Books for Young Readers, $15.95 (240pp) ISBN 978-0-375-80472-4

With a swashbuckling style and an imagination in overdrive, Hughes (Toots and the Upside-Down House) grabs readers on page one and never lets go. Jack Black, an enterprising young lad, convinces his captain father to take him along on the maiden voyage of the Bellerophon, the world's largest airship. Little does Jack know that he's in for the ride of his life. From uncovering a dastardly plot to sabotage the Bellerophon to a dangerous midair plunge onto the deck of a mysterious pirate ship, where he gets caught in a deadly race to destroy the dreaded Nemesis, a futuristic warship on auto- pilot, Jack careens from one perilous predicament to the next. Hughes's robust blend of fantasy and adventure features nonstop action, whisking readers from the clouds to the high seas, from the tropics to an exploding volcano to a polar ice cap. The beguiling cast includes a ship's cat named Lard, a cook who gets tipsy swilling molasses, a swaggering flyboy whom Jack worships but who may not be all he seems. And there's the likeable Jack, of course, who rises to meet the challenges thrown his way. Entertaining from start to finish. Ages 10-13. (Sept.)